Teen girls on a binge.

Benefits of Parental Monitoring-6: Substance Use

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This is the sixth in a series of blogs examining benefits of parental supervision.

Research from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has examined the effect of parental monitoring on substance use.Teen girls on a binge.

This research report included responses from 6,500 students attending high school in California and Wisconsin. The researchers were looking to see if there was an association between parental monitoring and substance use.

They reported that more parental monitoring was associated with less substance use, whereas the more involved an adolescent’s peers were in substance use, the more likely he or she also was to use drugs and alcohol. In plain English that means that poorly-monitored adolescents were more likely to use drugs, and drug-using adolescents seek out like-minded friends.

Once an adolescent associates with drug-using peers, his or her own substance use tends to grow to match their level.

The study concluded that interventions to prevent substance use should include both parental and community-level efforts. Parental monitoring is an effective tool both in the prevention of drug use and in reducing the amount of drug use.

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Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.